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Photo Coverage: Best Musicals Exhibited at NY Public Library

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts delves into its renowned collections for Writing to Character: Songwriters & the Tony Awards, the first exhibition to explore the over 70 Broadway shows that have won Tonys for either Best Musical or Best Score.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Library also presents a free public program series featuring appearances by such noted songwriters as Charles Strouse, Maury Yeston, and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Writing to Character, co-presented by The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Tony Award Productions, is on view from February 26, 2008 through June 14, 2008 in the Library's Vincent Astor Gallery. Admission is free. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center is located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.

Through annotated scores and scripts, correspondence, costume and set designs, photographs, window cards, and original cast recordings, Writing to Character explores the collaborative process of developing a Tony Award-winning musical. The exhibition also includes videotaped interviews with such musical theatre luminaries as Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Jerry Herman, Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Adam Guettel.

Special nuggets include the guitar on which Duncan Sheik first plucked the chords out for "Mama Who Bore Me" and then went on to write the first four songs he composed for Spring Awakening. In addition, there is the conductor's piano score, with an additional verse, for "Adelaide's Lament" from Guys and Dolls, and W.H. Auden's unused lyrics for "Song of the Quest" for Man from La Mancha. Artifacts include Jerry Bock's notes and revised outlines, as well as Zero Mostel's script for Fiddler on the Roof, and the stage manager's promptbook for South Pacific open to "Twin Soliloquies," with hand-written annotations... and much more!

Admission to all programs is free and is on a first come, first served basis, except for the May 10 program. For May 10, free tickets will be distributed one per person, from 1:00 p.m. at the Library's Lincoln Center Plaza entrance.  For further information about public programs, telephone 212-642-0142 or go to the Library's website at

Photos by Peter James Zielinski

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Spring Awakening's Steven Sater

Steven Sater

Steven Sater

Max von Essen

Max von Essen

Max von Essen

Elizabeth Ireland McCann

Crystal Hunt

Urinetown's Marc Hollman

Marc Hollman and family

Paty Lombard and Rick Stockwell

Marc Hollman and Lisa Lambert

Neil Costa and Lynn Ahrens

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